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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Lisa Lou

We Are in Control of Our Image


Which home would you purchase?


Which guy would you date?


Which books would you buy?


I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

For the well-dressed man, the descriptions were: successful; cares about himself; confident; knows where he is going in life. For the couch-potato man: unsuccessful; not motivated; a slob; poor; doesn’t care about anyone but himself.


For the two books, I am sure you can guess which one the students said they would purchase, and which one they would leave on the shelf.


“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” we were taught when growing up. Well, guess what? Every one of these college girls just did (and I bet you did, too!). Image matters!

First impressions are formed within 2 seconds, whether we speak with that person or not. We did not speak to the men in the pictures above, yet we already have opinions about the type of people they are. When a company wants to sell a product, they hire a marketing firm to create beautiful images that speak to their customers. They create images that make people say, “I can’t live without that!” We are no different. When we market ourselves and show we care about our outward “package,” we are telling others we take pride in who we are. Our image tells a story. The question is, what story is it telling?

A research study led by a Harvard professor revealed women in the work force who wore makeup were viewed as more competent, friendlier, AND made 10% more than women who did not wear makeup. This was not out-on-the-town glamour makeup, but just enough to show they cared about their appearance. In fact, too much makeup gave the impression the subject was not comfortable with herself, and no makeup made people think she was anti-social. This study had NOTHING to do with whether people thought the test subjects were physically attractive. I want to make that clear. The result of the study: people that appeared to groom themselves (take care of themselves) and show pride in their personal appearance were better received than those that did not.

If an employer sees a potential employee as someone that is well groomed, they will think, “If she takes pride in herself, then I know she will take pride in our company and represent us well.” Yet, the opposite is also true. If we do not show we take pride in the image we portray, a future employer may think, “If she does not take pride in who she is, then why can I trust that she will take pride in our company?”


Look at the below photos and ask yourself, “Where does my eye immediately go?”



Both women are physically beautiful, but in the first photo the eye is drawn to the triangle area of the woman’s face. Somewhere between the forehead and the neck is where the eye lands. In the second photo, where did your eyes go? For most, it would go straight to the cleavage!


As women, we want our appearance to say many things about us, but the most important thing to portray is strength in who we are as a person. How do we do this? Where is our center of power found? Answer: In the triangle of our face.

If we do anything to take a person’s eyes away from our face, we have lost power. When we arrive at an event not dressed appropriately, it does not make us look unique, it makes us look like we do not know what we are doing. And that, my friends, reduces our strength.

How we appear on the outside reflects who we are on the inside. I love the example Cynthia Grosso, owner of the Charleston School of Protocol, uses when she describes an iceberg in comparison to our image. She says the top of the iceberg that is visible makes up 15% of the entire formation. The other 85% of the ice is under the water and out of sight. It is not visible to our naked eye.


This holds true to our image, as well. How we portray ourselves on the outside is a direct reflection of who we are on the inside. Our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors (the hidden part of the iceberg) WILL be reflected in our exterior image (the visible part of the iceberg), which includes our appearance and our manners. Though the other person forming a first impression about us may bring their biases into the decision, they are forming their first impression based on what WE are telling them to think. Though we may never speak, we are communicating very loudly to that person what we want their first impression to be.


“What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Your image is your resume in billboard fashion. Take pride in yourself. You are your own best advocate!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou